The Pentagon has recovered and identified the bodies of a pair of Marines whose helicopter crashed in western Iraq on May 27.
Capt. Nathanael J. Doring and Cpl. Richard A. Bennett were piloting their AH-1 Cobra gunship on a routine maintenance flight when it crashed into Lake Habbaniyah, officials said. Enemy fire was not suspected in the incident.
Both Marines were assigned to Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron-169, Marine Aircraft Group-39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Pendleton, Calif. Their bodies were recovered. Doring was officially pronounced dead on Monday, and Bennett on Tuesday, officials said Thursday.
Doring, 31, was listed by the Pentagon as a native of Apple Valley, Minn. Family members said he joined the Marines right out of college and wanted to be a pilot.
“He did what he did with a purpose,” Doring’s uncle, Rich Gamble, told The Associated Press. “Things did not happen to him, necessarily. He decided where he went.”
Doring’s wife is also a Marine officer deployed to Iraq, family members said, and she was accompanying his body home.
Bennett, 25, was a native of Girard, Kan., officials said.
Ricky Bennett, as he was known to friends and family, graduated from high school in 1999 and joined the Marines shortly afterward, officials said.
School administrators and family members described Bennett as a “fine young man who always made us proud.”
Family members said they would establish a scholarship fund in his name, with details to be announced.
The crash remains under investigation by the Marine Corps, officials said Thursday.